Houseleek, Roofleek, Aeonium

15 April 2016

Hardly any plant hides so many different varieties behind its common Spanish name




Houseleek, Roofleek, Aeonium

Aeonium, Greenovia, Aichryson


The individual species are sometimes very difficult to distinguish, which is why several succulent plants are grouped together under the term "bejeques".


The bejeques are evergreen, perennial, succulent plants


They belong to the thicket family and are also called Sempervivum (from everlasting, persistent).


They have grown magnificently in the Canary Islands. Most of them grow only there, some only on certain islands.

There are about 40 different species, some of which are very difficult to distinguish and sometimes form hybrids among themselves.


The actual "bejeques" are Aeoniums

There are also some species in Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, Morocco and West Africa.




On La Palma, Aeonium arboreum is probably best known with its striking yellow flowers.

Very rare in nature, but to be found in the city park of Los Llanos, for example, is "bejeque nobile". The only red-flowering aeonim grows exclusively on Isla Bonita.



Larger colonies of some species often literally stick to the rock faces.

A few kilometres later, sometimes only a few metres further, they have disappeared again.

This is due to the palmeric microclimates and the different soil conditions.




Even in the volcanic landscapes near Refugio El Pilar (El Paso) or at the southern tip near Fuencaliente, their flowers rise out of the seemingly barren lava.

The plants, also known as "verode", like rocks and stones.


They grow mainly near the coast and in the middle altitudes.



For the sake of simplicity, thick-leaved plants of the species Greenovia, Aichryson (the latter are much smaller) are also called "bejeques" on La Palma.


Some varieties have leaves as small as 1 cm, others as big as a hand.


All are formed from rosettes of leaves, some grow as branching "bushes" and others have only one stem.

The main flowering time of the pretty "bejeques" is between November and June.

Photos: Ines Dietrich, Uka Rösch

Hypnotic Thickleaf

The biodiversity of the island of La Palma shines with its rich flora.

The thick-leaved plants alone exist in the most diverse varieties. Some grow almost everywhere on the island, others only in very limited places. Kike Navarro invites us to discover the fascinating world of the genus Aeonium by looking at its rosettes.

La Palma Plant Directory

Besides the native Flora there are lots of imported and introduced plant species like the almond- and chestnut tree and hardly to overlook - the banana plant.

Thanks to the mild climate, all kinds of ornamental plants, plenty of vegetables and many exotic fruits also thrive on the "Isla Bonita", the Beautiful Island.

Click here for the La Palma plant directory...

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